The Association of Surfing Professionals International has announced media/distribution agreements with ESPN, YouTube and Facebook for broadcast, digital and social media rights. Each agreement will begin in 2014 to help celebrate and grow the sport of surfing worldwide. The announcements mark the first national and global media deals in the history of professional surfing.
ASP events enhanced by the media deals include the 26 elite tour events across men’s, women’s and big wave arenas in Australia, Brazil, Fiji, Indonesia, Tahiti, the United States, France, Portugal, Chile, Peru, South Africa, Spain and Mexico. Since 1976, ASP has annually crowned the undisputed world surfing champions in a sport that hosts more than 120 million fans worldwide.
“Professional surfing is a truly global sport which demands media distribution partners with significant reach. Our newly announced partners have tremendous presence in the innovative media arena and, together, they build the foundation for the ASP media platform,” Paul Speaker, ASP CEO, said. “I personally believe surfing is one of the most dramatic and dynamic sports on the planet and it’s an honor to work with tremendously inspirational athletes in bringing their feats and stories to the public. I find it very fitting that the rebirth of professional surfing in 2014 will be broadcast within the ESPN family of networks and back on ABC as they were the first to support surfing on television back in 1962.”
ESPN will team with ASP as the exclusive U.S. domestic broadcaster for professional surfing in 2014 as part of a three-year agreement to showcase the sport’s elite events. The rights deal will allow surfing fans to see highlight shows immediately following the events.
The ASP YouTube channel, along with the rebuilt ASP website, which will embed this content via the YouTube player, will provide fans with more than 3,000 hours of programming, including 26 live streamed events annually across the men’s ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), the women’s ASP WCT and the ASP Big Wave World Tour (BWWT). For the first time in the sport’s history, the ASP YouTube channel will enable fans around the world to go to one global destination to view surfing digitally.
Facebook will serve as the primary social platform partner for ASP with the relationship focusing on fan engagement. Repucom research findings showed the number one sport fan using social media throughout the world are surfing fans, including a characteristic of being six times more likely to engage in social media than the general public. The ASP will use Facebook to engage its rapidly growing global fan base around surfing, both via broadcasts and connecting fans to the athletes themselves.
“We will be working closely with Facebook and Instagram as the primary social platforms to enhance our broadcast programming—bringing the tribe of surfing fans from around the world closer to the action they love, the athletes they follow and the sponsor brands they support,” Speaker said.